Author: Peter Loftus
Wearable blood-sugar monitors deliver round-the-clock glucose readings—and relief from the daily grind of finger-stick blood tests.
Diabetes patients are increasingly using electronic skin patches and their phones, instead of pricking their fingers, to do the complex job of managing a disease that affects more than 30 million Americans.
The transformation in blood-sugar testing suggests how harnessing technology and data may drive improvements for disease management—and profits for manufacturers.
Many patients now wear coin-sized skin patches on their arms or abdomens that test for blood-sugar levels automatically, then send the data to a patient’s smartphone or even to a wearable insulin pump that delivers the medicine.
Patients in the U.S. using the devices, known as continuous-glucose monitors, numbered almost 840,000 as of March 31, more than double the 389,000 using them at the end of 2017, according to Seagrove Partners LLC, a health-care research and consulting firm.
Sales of the products are fueling growth at companies including DexCom Inc., Abbott Laboratories and Medtronic PLC. Their sales of the devices are expected to hit $3.2 billion this year, triple the 2016 total, according to JPMorgan Chase.
The market for the devices “is extremely large and growing really fast,” said Mike Hill, who heads the Medtronic unit selling the sensors.
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